Live now : Harris Chain - FLW Live Coverage

Castledine claims crown

Castledine claims crown
Pro Todd Castledine of Nacogdoches, Texas, shows off part of his winning three-day catch of 65 pounds, 2 ounces.

HEMPHILL, Texas - After leading the EverStart Series Texas Division event on Toledo Bend for two straight day, Todd Castledine of Nacogdoches, Texas, entered the final day of competition boasting a lead of nearly 6 1/2 pounds. Although thoughts of a tournament title danced in his head, his dream scenario of cruising to an easy victory was shattered before the sun had even risen over the horizon.

"I was about seven minutes from the marina when my boat broke down," said Castledine. "My first thought was, `Really? Today? You've got to be kidding me.' So I started to think about what to do. Then (top-10 finalist) Russell Cecil came along."

Pro Todd Castledine of Nacogdoches, Texas, proudly displays his first-place trophy after winning the EverStart Series event on the Toledo Bend Resevoir.Cecil, who was also competing for a tournament title, immediately stopped and helped bring Castledine back to the marina. However, Castledine still didn't have a working boat. With time ticking away, another fellow EverStart competitor - Andy Gaia - came to the rescue and lent Castledine his own boat.

"I can't thank Andy enough," he said. "He just happened to still be here, and he told me that I could use his boat. And that saved me."

With a new boat, Castledine hit the water again only to discover that his new ride didn't have enough gas.

"It wasn't Andy's fault," said Castledine. "He had no idea he was going to have to loan his boat out for the finals. So by the time I got back out there fishing, I had already had a two-hour delay."

While that type of incident would have derailed many pros' title chances, Castledine persevered.

"When I got back on the water, I just started praying," he said. "And then I suddenly felt calm and said, `You know, everything is going to be all right.' But I definitely have to thank Jesus for this one."

With his new boat, Castledine went to work, targeting bedding bass with a Reactions Innovations Sweet Beaver. Before long, Castledine had amassed an 18-pound, 9-ounce stringer and headed back to weigh-in.

Pro Todd Castledine of Nacogdoches, Texas, weighs in his first-place catch during the final day of competition on Toledo Bend. "I was really nervous though," he said. "It was just a strange day, and I had this weird feeling that somebody might catch me. I really thought the final weigh-in was going to be a lot closer than it was."

In the end, Castledine's nightmarish beginning turned into a storybook ending as the Texas native walked away with the tournament title with a total three-day catch of 65 pounds, 2 ounces. For his efforts, Castledine won a first-place prize of $27,800. And he couldn't have been happier.

"This is just awesome. I guess this is the best win of my career," said Castledine. "My co-angler (Rick Parker) won today as well. I really think if today had gone smoothly, it wouldn't have been nearly as fun."

Martin's spirited comeback falls short

Although Lendell Martin Jr. of Nacogdoches, Texas, returned to the scales with by far the biggest stringer of the day, a 22-pound, 4-ounce sack, it wasn't quite good enough to catch Castledine. As a result, Martin had to settle for second place and a check for $9,500.

"You know what, it was a fun day today," said Martin, who ultimately finished with a three-day total of 62 pounds, 7 ounces. "This is just an awesome lake. And when I saw that we're going to have a full moon and that the water was warming up, I knew I had a chance to really go out there and catch `em."

Pro Lendell Martin Jr., of Nacogdoches, Texas, returned to the scales in the finals with by far the biggest stringer of the day - a 22-pound, 4-ounce sack. Ultimately it was only good enough for a second-place finish.In the end, however, Martin wasn't able to make up the 6 1/2-pound deficit he was faced with entering the finals.

"Today I fished hard," he said. "I basically left the 2-pounders alone. But when I found the right fish, I'd just sit down and fish it hard. These fish are really aggressive. If you found the right place to fish on a bed, they'd really bite it. There are still plenty of big fish out there. And they're coming up every day."

Martin said he used a combination of Brush Hogs and Yamamoto double-tail grubs as well as 17-pound-test line to land the majority of his sight-fish.

After final weigh-in had concluded, Martin said he had few regrets.

"I used to think that Sam Rayburn was a better fishery, but now I think Toledo Bend might be a bit better," he said. "I've had the pleasure of being able to fish for a long time, and I can tell you that it was a lot of fun this week."

Bird skyrockets up the leaderboard

Pro Cody Bird of Granbury, Texas, leapfrogged from ninth place to third in the finals on the strength of a three-day catch of 54 pounds.After barely squeaking into the finals on Toledo Bend in ninth place, Cody Bird of Granbury, Texas, knew that he'd have his work cut out for him if he was to have any chance at a tournament title. While he didn't find the ultimate prize he was looking for, Bird sailed up the standings with a total catch of 54 pounds, claiming third place overall as well as nearly $8,000 in winnings.

"It was a fun week, and I really enjoyed the weather," said Bird. "I love to sight-fish, and that's what I did all week. I didn't finish in first, but it was nice to move up as much as I did."

Bird said he targeted the majority of his quarry fishing a Kicker Fish Bait Company finesse worm.

"The bass couldn't leave that bait alone," he said. "I didn't try to catch a lot of keepers this week - and maybe that was my mistake - I just tried to look around for the big bites. But overall, it was a good week."

Reneau nets fourth place

Pro Tim Reneau of Del Rio, Texas, finished the Toledo Bend event in fourth place with a total catch of 52 pounds, 12 ounces.Tim Reneau of Del Rio, Texas, finished the Toledo Bend event in fourth place with a total catch of 52 pounds, 12 ounces.

"Unlike the other guys, I wasn't sight-fishing today. I can't see that good," Reneau joked. "I was fishing sharper breaks and trying to catch fish as they were coming and going (to the beds)."

Reneau said he targeted fish using Texas-rigged Strike King Game Hogs.

"I had a good week," he said. "I can't complain."

For his efforts, Reneau took home a check for more than $7,000.

Wilkerson lands top-five finish

Pro Chris Wilkerson of Conroe, Texas, netted a total catch of 50 pounds, 8 ounces to finish the event in fifth place.Chris Wilkerson of Conroe, Texas, netted a total catch of 50 pounds, 8 ounces to finish the event in fifth place.

"I'm pretty excited," he said. "You can't win them all. But any time you make the top-10, you're doing something right."

Like many of the top pros, Wilkerson caught most of his larger bass sight-fishing. Wilkerson said he targeted fish with a Carolina rig in the morning to catch a small limit and then attempted to upgrade by sight-fishing throughout the day.

"I just didn't find any big fish to put in the boat today," he said.

For his efforts, Wilkerson took home nearly $6,400 in winnings.

Best of the rest

On the strength of a three-day catch of 48 pounds, 15 ounces, pro Joe Elkouri of Lawton, Okla., finished the EverStart Toledo Bend event in sixth place.On the strength of a three-day catch of 48 pounds, 15 ounces, Joe Elkouri of Lawton, Okla., finished the event in sixth place.

"I had a great week," he said. "This is my first top-10 and the second check I've made in back-to-back tournaments, so I'm happy."

Elkouri, who won over $5,500, used a Berkley Havoc Craw Fatty to land the majority of his catch.

Rounding out the top 10 pro qualifiers for the Toledo Bend event:

7th: James Caldemeyer of Gilmer, Texas, 48-15
8th: Eric Wright of Scurry, Texas, 47-13
9th: Robert Brown of Round Rock, Texas, 47-0
10th: Russell Cecil of Willis, Texas, 36-9

EverStart Series Texas Division action resumes May 12-14 at Lake Texoma in Denison, Texas.

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2011-03-17-toledo-bend 

Harris Chain Day 3 Coverage

Harris Chain Day 3 Coverage

The weather-shortened Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers at the Harris Chain wraps up today with the top 30 pros. Follow along all day to see who can take home the hardware and $100,000. READ MORE »

Strickland Sticks 31-Pound Megabag

Strickland Sticks 31-Pound Megabag

Florida cold fronts are supposed to shut the fishing down, but that wasn’t the case for many of the leaders through two days of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain. Rocketing into the lead from 35th place, Laramy Strickland popped a 31-pound, 6-ounce megabag to put his leading total at an even 46 pounds. In second, Jimmy Washam stayed steady, weighing 21-13 for second and a 41-13 total. In third, Hunter Freeman also made a big jump, hammering out 25-14 on day two to get up to 39-6. READ MORE »

Harris Chain Day 2 Coverage

Harris Chain Day 2 Coverage

The weather has made a 180 here in Leesburg, Fla., for stop No. 2 of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain of Lakes. Follow along for updates on all the action. READ MORE »

Day 2 at Harris Postponed

Day 2 at Harris Postponed

Day two of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain has been postponed due to high winds. With a lake wind advisory in effect from 10 a.m. ET until later this evening, many pros believe staying off the water today was the right call. READ MORE »

Salewske Cracks 26 at Harris Chain

Salewske Cracks 26 at Harris Chain

Day one of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event presented by Bab Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain was a catchfest, but it wasn’t quite the sight-fishing showdown that some hoped for. In the lead, Rusty Salewske weighed 26 pounds, 10 ounces. Just ounces behind him, Miles Burghoff wrangled 26-8. In third, Jared McMillan put 22-1 on the scale to kick things off. READ MORE »

Harris Chain Day 1 Coverage

Harris Chain Day 1 Coverage

Anglers are enjoying near-perfect conditions for a day-one slugfest in Leesburg, Fla., for stop No. 2 of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers on the Harris Chain of Lakes. Follow along for updates on all the action. READ MORE »

FLW Live Leaderboard - Harris Chain

FLW Live Leaderboard - Harris Chain

FLW Marshals and media staff provide unofficial weight estimates for the second stop of the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit presented by Bad Boy Mowers at Florida's Harris Chain of Lakes. READ MORE »

Guyot Catches 23-8 for Murray Win

Guyot Catches 23-8 for Murray Win

Boater Scott Guyot of Fayetteville, North Carolina, brought five bass to the scale Saturday totaling 23 pounds, 8 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Murray in Prosperity, South Carolina. For his victory, Guyot earned a total of $4,359. READ MORE »

Flack Goes Finesse on Lewis Smith

Flack Goes Finesse on Lewis Smith

Local boater Jackie Flack of Cullman, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 17 pounds, 3 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lewis Smith Lake in Cullman. For his victory, Flack earned a total of $6,011. READ MORE »

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., moved ahead one spot in the standings on the final day of competition at the St. Johns River to earn his first Toyota Series victory. His three-day catch of 57 pounds, 12 ounces earned him the win by a 6-pound margin. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

Day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River brought more fish, bigger fish and eight bags over 20 pounds – a marked improvement over what we saw on day one. Day three could go either direction, though, as a small cold front overnight left behind bluebird skies and abundant sunshine today. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

It’s been a question of when, not if: When is the first big wave of spawners going to move up on the St. Johns River? That question may have been answered on day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, as more and more anglers brought big fish across the weigh-in stage, with many of the bass coming from beds or shallow cover where fish are staging to make their big move. READ MORE »

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Jason Blair caught 22 pounds, 3 ounces – the biggest limit of the tournament so far – to take over the lead at the Toyota Series Southern Division season opener on the St. Johns River. The West Palm Beach, Fla., pro has a two-day total of 39-15 and a 1-pound, 11-ounce lead over yesterday’s leader, Trevor Fitzgerald. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

After a warm but windy day to start the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River, day two brought lower temperatures, rain and a shifting wind that blew right up the chute early this morning. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

The St. Johns River is fishing tough, and while weights were down across the board on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, the top five found a way to get the job done with some impressive stringers of big Florida bass. READ MORE »

Fitzgerald in Front on St. Johns

Fitzgerald in Front on St. Johns

Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., took the lead on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener at the St. Johns River with a five-bass limit that weighed 21 pounds, 2 ounces. Fitzgerald has previously won a Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event on the St. Johns and is in contention to make his 12th top-10 finish with FLW. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 1

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 1

As expected, the St. Johns River is still fishing pretty tough in the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, which kicked off this morning. The St. Johns holds plenty of good fish, but she’s not all that willing to give them up. READ MORE »

Littich Nets Big O Title

Littich Nets Big O Title

Boater Thomas Littich of Cape Coral, Florida, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 23 pounds, 14 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida. For his victory, Littich earned a total of $7,220, including a $2,500 FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency award. READ MORE »

Dover Wins on Keowee

Dover Wins on Keowee

Boater Randy Dover of Buford, Georgia, brought five to the scale Saturday totaling 15 pounds, 10 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Keowee in Seneca, South Carolina. For his victory, Dover earned a total of $5,627. READ MORE »

Robinson Slings a Blade on Martin

Robinson Slings a Blade on Martin

Boater Dusty Robinson of Eclectic, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 13 pounds, 4 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Martin in Alexander City, Alabama. For his victory, Robinson earned a total of $5,686, including a $1,000 Mercury contingency award. READ MORE »